Today is World Tuna Day! Fishes classified as tuna are members of the Scombridae family and comprise a group of pelagic (live in open oceans), saltwater fishes that are among the ocean’s most amazing animals. There are 15 species of extant tuna, most of which are large-bodied fishes, with Atlantic bluefin tuna averaging 2 meters (6.6 feet) in total length, and capable of swimming at very fast speeds of up to 75 kilometers per hour (47 mph)! As juveniles, tuna, like other fishes, eat mostly zooplankton, but as adults, they consume large fishes and invertebrates and are one of the ocean’s top predators.
Today, tuna are a heavily fished species, both commercially and recreationally. Globally people prepare and eat tuna in a variety of ways from canned tuna fish to tuna steaks to sushi. Though people routinely eat tuna, several fisheries management organizations have warned of the recent overharvesting of tuna and the importance of tuna as a top predator in the oceans. As a top predator, adult tuna have few non-human predators making the mass harvest these fishes more problematic. So for World Tuna Day, skip the sushi and enjoy a delicious veggie salad.
Featured Image: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)